Category Archives: Personal Life and Reflections

THE OUTRIGHT FOOL

Modern man sees himself as a natural cynic and skeptic when it comes to all Higher Potential – be that Higher Potential Divine, or in himself, or concerning mankind as a whole.

He thinks this makes him appear sophisticated and urbane and much like a very worldly modern intellectual. And, of course, it does.

It also makes him an outright fool.

from Human Effort

THE HEATLESS SUN

THE HEATLESS SUN (As a follow Up to the Ghostless Machine)

Francis is, by the way, and in my opinion the single worst pope I have seen in my lifetime. He might as well be a secular Western European politician or an American progressive liberal professor of religion.

He is no Man of Miracle and High Ambition, as was John Paul, or even a Man of High yet Humble Mind, as was Benedict.

Rather he is a devoted apparatchik and zealous liberal agent of that queer modern fusion known as political-religion – posing as a pope.

On the other hand he must be extremely comforting to the “modern Christian,” be he Catholic or Protestant. You know, the one who believes nothing (terrified of the very idea of miracles, or that they might stain themselves by being involved in one) and wants desperately to share that state of eternally mundane miasma with everyone, so that like a good Socialist Christian all are equally moderate in soullessness.

He is, after all, precisely what they are… how could they not be enthralled?

Pascal’s Fire & 8 Minutes Till Darkness

I had a long late breakfast this morning with a Catholic friend, a native of Baton Rouge who now lives in New England, but is in town visiting his family. When we sat down at the restaurant, I mentioned to him that I had seen this tweet from a very solid Catholic priest friend:

Fr. Matt Fish@matthewjfish

Gospel today: can we please stop talking about sharing the loaves? Instead: mountains and theophanies, new Moses, Passover meal, new Exodus, anticipation of eschatological banquet, sacrifice of the lamb, kingship of Jesus, miracle vs sign, all acceptable alternatives.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

To which I had responded (on Twitter) by quoting part of Blaise Pascal’s note at the end of a late-night mystical vision in 1654. Here is the entire quote from Pascal, for whom this vision occasioned a deeper conversion:

FIRE.

GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.

My friend shook his head, smiling sardonically. “I had the ‘miracle of sharing’ homily at mass this morning!” he said. He was angry about it.

This is a sad old joke for Catholics. When the Gospel reading is the story of Christ feeding the multitude with just a few loaves and fishes, some Catholic priests (like, um, this guy) are in the habit of downplaying the supernatural core of the event, and saying that the real miracle here was the “miracle of sharing” — the idea that the generosity Christ inspired in people’s hearts is what that story is about. The Catholic blogger Amy Welborn once wrote about this phenomenon (which some Protestants have had to endure too); the unnamed acquaintance in her story is me. I was still Catholic then, and had been at mass that day in St. Francisville, when I heard the priest give that lame homily. When I politely confronted him about it after mass, he pulled me out of his way.

The “Miracle Of Sharing” is shorthand among certain orthodox Catholics as a symbol for the desacralization of the faith by priests who don’t really believe in it, not as Pascal’s fire. My friend this morning said that listening to that lazy homily this morning at mass, with the meaning of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal weighing heavily on his mind, infuriated him. I blog here about our ensuing conversation with his permission, though I’m not going to name him.

“You remember how you had on your blog a couple of weeks ago that stuff about the final pagan generation?” he said.

He was referring to this post about how pagan Roman elites in the fourth century complacently believed that the old religion was going to endure. Even though the ground itself had shifted under their feet throughout the century, as Christian conversions continued throughout the Empire, they didn’t see what was happening around them. All the outward forms of pagan religion — the temples, the shrines, the public celebrations — were still more or less in place, even though the inner light of pagan belief was fast dimming. Then suddenly, paganism was gone. Historian Edward Watts, author of 2015’s The Final Pagan Generationwrites about how these elites turned out to have been the last people educated and formed intellectually in classical pagan culture. They did not recognize what was happening to their civilization. It had always been pagan, and always would be, they thought … until suddenly, it wasn’t anymore, and never was again.

Anyway, my friend said this morning that he agrees with me that Christians today — he was talking about his fellow Catholics in particular, but nodded when I said this is true of all Christians in the West — are like the Final Pagan Generation.

“It takes eight minutes for light to reach earth from the sun,” he said. “If the sun stopped exploding, if it went dark, it would be eight minutes before we knew it. I feel like we’re  living in that eight minutes now, about the faith.”

He explained that from what he sees around him, the Catholic faith is pretty much a dead letter. My friend is a deeply convinced believer, but the corruption in the clergy and in the episcopate has left him reeling. We’ve been friends for a while, and I know that he’s been undeceived for years about the real state of things in the Church. But the Cardinal McCarrick thing seems to have been a breaking point for him. He’s filled with disgust and anger at the Catholic bishops, doubting now how many of them have faith at all. How can you believe in Jesus Christ but facilitate so much corruption, sexual and otherwise? he said.

My friend is no Puritan. But he has hit a wall, and he has hit it hard. The “miracle of sharing” sermon stood out to him as a symbol of the total spiritual mediocrity of the Church in our time and place. The house is burning down around them, and sentimental priests can’t stop talking about that warm feeling in their hearts.

“They think they’re giving us mercy, but they’re not,” said my friend, who has suffered some serious setbacks in his own life in the past couple of years. “I’m desperate for mercy. I need it so much in my life. The hard truths that the Church teaches, that’s real mercy, not this fake stuff. Those truths give me what I need to bear up to all these trials. To live sacrificially when the world says the easy thing would be to give up.”

“To be honest, I don’t know if I’ve ever looked up to a priest as a spiritual father,” he continued. “I guess I had to learn a long time ago not to expect anything from them other than giving out the Sacrament.”

“Where I live, the Church is over. It’s done,” he said. “I was at mass a few weeks ago, and looked around, and my family were the only people there under 70. Nobody else is coming.”

It’s true that New England used to be the most Catholic part of the United States. Now it is one of the most secular. My friend says that when the grey hairs start to die off, very few believers will be around to replace them. And yet, there’s little sense of urgency in the Church there, he says — at least not the kind of urgency inspiring the clergy and the laity to search for Pascal’s Fire. They’re just content to fade into the mist.

It’s different in south Louisiana, he said — but this is little consolation. He grew up in this place, immersed in Catholic culture. “I feel like living in New England puts me ten to fifteen years ahead of y’all down here,” he said. “What we’re living through up north is coming here, but nobody seems to understand that.”

Far too many people in the South take comfort in the generally Christian culture here, said my friend. He wants me to understand that he’d take that over the spiritual desolation he’s living and raising his Catholic family in now, but it’s still a very serious problem, because it breeds complacency. Everybody’s happy sending their kids to Catholic school, going to mass on Sunday, hearing about the Miracle of Sharing, and consoling themselves that it’s all going pretty well now, and always will.

Meanwhile, he said, the faith is dying in the hearts of the middle-aged and the young.

“I don’t think it’s going to be the kind of thing where it just gradually declines,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more like one of these things where people just stop showing up. It’s going to be abrupt. Nobody’s going to see it coming, but when it happens, they’re not going to be surprised, either.”

Of course I told him that this is not just a Catholic experience, but a general Christian experience today. It plays out differently among Evangelicals, for example, but it’s there. If it weren’t, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism wouldn’t be the true American religion. An Evangelical pastor friend told me recently over the desperation among so many Evangelicals, always looking for the Next Big Thing — praise bands! smoke machines! — to keep emotions high and the troops rallied, and to keep people from noticing that the churches have been hollowed out from within.

None of this is new with me, of course. My Catholic breakfast friend and I talk about this kind of thing whenever we see each other. What made today’s conversation stand out to me was the power of his “eight minutes to darkness” metaphor — that, and his visceral post-McCarrick anger at the hierarchy and clergy of his own Church. To emphasize: it’s not only about toleration, even encouragement, of sexual sin and corruption, but satisfaction with spiritual “mediocrity” (his word) general in the Catholic Church today. That last one is an accusation that could accurately and justly be leveled at nearly all of us Christians, Catholic and otherwise.

We Christians are living out the Eight Minutes Till Darkness. If we are going to have the ability to see clearly when the lights go out, we are going to have to start tending Pascal’s fire in our own hearts, our own families, our own Christian schools, and our own religious communities. This is what the Benedict Option is about. This, I think, is why people like my older Millennial friend visiting from New England, as well as young Catholics in Europe, are so enthusiastic about the Benedict Option: because they already live in once-Christian lands across which the shadow of night has fallen.

For American Catholics, the McCarrick affair is an apocalypse in the strict sense of the word — that is, an unveiling. Believe it or not, this can be a blessing. It’s better to know the truth, and to go forward undeceived, than to operate under false pretenses. As angry as my Catholic friend is about this corruption, and as little confidence as he has in the bishops and the clergy, he is still committed to the Catholic faith. Now he has to figure out where to go from here, as a husband and a father and a soldier who salutes the uniform of the officer class, but has little to no faith in their ability to lead.

I don’t want to leave you on an anti-clerical note. It’s understandable, given all the news about clerical corruption, and besides, nobody wants to be taken advantage of by bishops who say “we are one body, one body in Christ” as a way of leaning on the laity to pay off the debts the clergy have incurred for molesting children and (in the case of bishops) tolerating it for decades. However, it would be self-serving for the laity to blame the clergy entirely. I’m thinking as I write this of a very fine young Orthodox priest I know who is in a difficult position. He did not tell me this, but someone who knows him passed on to me that no matter what he has done to try to engage his fairly large congregation with actual Orthodoxy (as distinct from ethnic-festival Orthodoxy), they resist and try to shut him down. They don’t want to be bothered with it. They’re fine with Miracle Of Sharing™ Christianity.

A Mainline Protestant friend of mine’s father got mad at his pastor once, for what I was told was good reason. After that, though, the man fell into the habit of finding fault with every pastor the church had. It wasn’t that the old man was always wrong, I was given to understand, but that the old man (who wasn’t old at all when this started) did not compensate for the clergy’s failing by either finding another church, or redoubling his own spiritual disciplines. Instead, he griped about church, and stopped going; his wife went along with it. He told himself and his family that he didn’t need to go to a church building and listen to boring sermons to find God. So he quit going to church, though he told himself that if the clergy would ever get its act together, he might start coming again.

For decades this went on. The old man finally died. I’m told that today, you will find none of that old man’s descendants in that church. Would things have been different for that family had the old man and his wife met the crisis of clerical mediocrity differently, instead of lazily blaming the institution for all their own failings? Maybe, maybe not. But at least their kids and grandkids would have had a better shot at holding onto the faith. In that family, the eight minutes till darkness passed a while back. In my friend’s late father, I very much see the attitude that my own late, Christian but non-churchgoing father had: believing that the faith would always be here because it always had been here, and that the church was like a public utility: always there to make sure that the lights would come on.

He was wrong. It’s going to be like that for all of us, if we don’t kindle Pascal’s fire, and seek the face of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

UPDATE: Well, whaddaya know, here’s what Pope Francis said today about the Loaves & Fishes reading Gospel reading:

Then, at the end of the account, when all were satiated, Jesus asked His disciples to gather the pieces left over, so that nothing would be wasted. And I would like to propose to you this phrase of Jesus: “Gather up the fragments left over, that nothing may be lost” (v. 12). I think of people who are hungry and how much leftover food we throw away . . . Let each one of us think: the food that’s left over at lunch, at dinner, where does it go? In my home, what’s done with this leftover food? Is it thrown out? No. If you have this habit, I give you advice: talk with your grandparents who lived after the War and ask them what they did with leftover food. Never throw away leftover food. It’s re-heated or given to someone who can eat it, who is in need. Never throw away leftover food. This is advice but also an examination of conscience: what is done at home with leftover food?

Let us pray to the Virgin Mary, so that in the world programs dedicated to development, to supplies, to solidarity prevail and not those of hatred, of armaments and of war.

That’s the end of his six-minute homily, but it gives you the gist. If you want to listen to the whole thing, it starts shortly after the 3:00 mark, and the concluding passage above begins about 8:30:

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

THE GHOSTLESS MACHINE

Christianity, especially Ancient and Medieval Christianity is awash in the supernatural and in spirituality. And in a far more potent and real form than that of any historical branch of paganism. That’s one reason it replaced paganism, and worldwide.

It is the modern Christian who has castrated Christianity of all its inherent force and power to fix obsessively upon the much smaller issues of politics, culture, entertainment, society, and materialism.

As a matter of fact it is very hard to see where society ends and the church or Christianity begin. It is like a sow who has birthed a fat piglet. Place either upon the plate as cooked ham and without further information you’d be hard pressed to identify the source.

The trouble with modern Christianity in this sense (and there are almost countless problems with modern Christianity) is not that Christianity is not a far more viable and valid form of spirituality than paganism, it is that modern Christianity has no spirituality any longer, just as it has no magic, miracle, or salvific force. Not in the West anyway.

And that began (the abolition of miracles, spirituality, the Mysteries, etc.), rightly or wrongly with the Protestant Revolution. And some things concerning the Protestant Reform should have definitely happened and some things should have never happened at all. But still they did.

And as a result Christianity is now but shadow of itself and a mere machine without a Ghost, Holy or otherwise. Or should I just say it is little more than a mere cultural artefact and a religion Wholly Without a Ghost…

I recently visited the website of a popular company that sells products like deodorant and toothpaste with natural ingredients. Curious to learn more about the business, I visited their blog which was purportedly about the latest trends in health and wellness.

What greeted me was not what I expected. Rather than tips on exercise or healthy eating, the blog featured stories about the healing power of crystals and the benefits of tarot card reading. This was at once surprising and unsurprising, for new age and occult practices, in all their various forms, are experiencing a major resurgence, especially among millennials. But from a company that sells toothpaste?

It is no exaggeration to say that, despite the best efforts of the New Atheists, our culture is more awash in spirituality than ever before. One can hardly go anywhere today without seeing products, articles, and popular gurus encouraging practices like yoga, meditation, reiki—and now, tarot and crystals—as essential to a healthy lifestyle. In the realm of entertainment, hugely popular series like Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Game of Thrones all draw on themes of magic and the supernatural.

What are we to make of this ?

Heresy…or Hunger

From a Christian perspective, many of these trends are undoubtedly suspect or downright heretical. And yet, we should think carefully before issuing anathemas, for while misguided, many of our culture’s flirtations with the occult really betray a deep hunger for the supernatural.

Theologian Alexander Schmemann once said, “To condemn a heresy is relatively easy. What is much more difficult is to detect the question it implies, and to give this question an adequate answer.” He was right. As Catholics, we are often in such a rush to point out what is wrong with neo-pagan practices that we miss the deeper questions they imply. And we certainly fail to give them a satisfying answer.

The truth is, our culture is starving for the supernatural. My generation has been raised to believe that we are nothing more than accidentally advanced apes on an unusually lucky space rock floating in a meaningless sea of nothingness in a universe that could care less whether we lived or died. It is despair inducing in the highest degree. Moreover, we have been told, nearly since infancy, that science has answered nearly all questions of existence, and if any remain unanswered, they will be resolved quite soon. For every question, there is an answer, even before you ask it. Existence is thus no longer wonderfully strange and awe-inspiring, but mundane and prosaic.

As a result, young adults today are desperate for an encounter with authentic mystery. Things like astrology and crystals are attractive because they are strange and defy the scientific-materialist paradigm. There are certainly explanations for how they work, but they require a level of faith. And despite what the pompous atheists claim, we want to have faith in something we can’t fully explain. We are fundamentally religious beings, and we instinctively know there is more to the world than meets the eye. We are hungry for magic and mystery and will embrace the first thing, rightly or wrongly, that offers it.

The Failure of Christianity

Now, you  may be reading this and thinking that Christianity, especially Catholicism, believes and proclaims the existence of supernatural realities, so why abandon it for neo-pagan practices? Wouldn’t their hunger for the supernatural be satisfied at their local parish?

Yes and no. Yes, because the supernatural mysteries taught by the Church do exist. No, because in practice we so often deny them.

We claim to believe in angels and archangels and a host of saints who join us in worship. Yet, we strip our churches bare and make them into beige-carpeted business centers, rather than holy temples.

We claim to believe that each Mass is a miracle that brings God bodily to dwell among us. Yet we make our liturgy a comfortable affair, eliminating anything that is difficult, disorienting, awe-inspiring, ancient, or mysterious. We sing cheesy ditties, hold hands, and pass out the greatest mystery of all, the Holy Eucharist, like a snack in a cafeteria.

We claim our priests have supernatural powers to consecrate, bless, and preach. Yet we water-down or change their sacred formulas, eliminate their rituals, and distribute their duties to laymen as often as possible.

We claim to believe in the Almighty, the Creator of all before whom the burning spirits veil their faces, yet we insist on dragging him down to our level to accommodate our needs and sins. We say we believe in supernatural mystery, but we do all in our power to destroy it at every turn.

If lex orandi, lex credendi is true, then we simply do not believe what we say we believe.

Christian Secularists

To be perfectly honest, we have failed to offer an encounter with mystery for some time now. The mass abandonment of the faith by young people is not so much a sign of their wickedness as an indictment of our own practical unbelief.

As Catholics, we long ago turned the faith into an intellectual game devoid of mysticism, priding ourselves on our clear philosophy and well articulated theological frameworks. But the letter without the spirit, philosophical theology without mystical encounter, kills. It is a head without a heart, and it cannot give life.

When the world walked away—tired of textbook answers and hungry for the Transcendent Mystery—we became not lessworldly but more worldly. We embraced modern, secular modernity, stripping our faith of nearly everything supernatural, and we lost any credibility we had left.

The truth is, most of us live like complete secularists the vast majority of the time. We claim to believe in supernatural realities, but compartmentalize them to one hour, one day per week—and perhaps not even that. Heaven is always somewhere out there, and never really upsets my daily existence. We aren’t taken seriously by modern men and women hungry for the supernatural because we don’t believe in the supernatural, despite what we say.

The Answer

I have been critical to this point because it upsets me to see countless Catholics practically deny the supernatural realities of our faith with banal liturgies and disrespect or even disdain for the holiest things of our religion, and then see the same Catholics criticizing the errors of wayward neo-pagan youth. Until we take our own faith seriously, no one else will.

But I don’t simply want to criticize; I want to offer a solution. The answer is not difficult to discern. It is simply this: Emphasize the supernatural reality of our faith at every turn, recover those traditions which preserve and honor this reality, and thus offer an encounter with what one theologian termed the mysterium tremendum et fascinans—the Great and Awesome Mystery—which is Almighty God.

For everywhere the Holy Eucharist is treated with awesome and painstaking reverence, everywhere buildings still appear to be and are treated like temples, everywhere saints are still venerated and angels called upon, everywhere priests are honored as the supernaturally-endowed mediators that they are, everywhere miracles are still believed in and occur, the faith is growing. And it is almost always young people who flock to such places.

If we want to be a viable alternative to neo-paganism, we need to embrace once again the supernatural traditions of our faith. Our sacred language. Our ancient and venerable rites and formulas. Our “superstitious” Catholic practices. Our symbols. Our mystical traditions of prayer. We don’t need only more catechesis, as if ideas alone could save us. We need more mystery, more transcendence, more ritual, more magic, for lack of a better word.

Every Catholic must become a mystic, in the sense that we live like the supernatural is as real as the air we breathe—because it is. Then, and only then, will we be able to speak authentically to a world hungry for the divine.

MODERN MAN AND THE TRAINABLE PIG

The only thing easier to subvert and influence with bad habits and instruction than a modern man is a trainable pig.

Then again you gotta work at training a pig. All you’ve got to do with a modern man is just drop him in the center of his supposed “culture” and most of them will reflexively absorb by osmosis every low social custom they come can possibly come into contact with.

Modern man is hardly known for his strength of mind and soul. He is, however, very well known for how easy he is to corrupt, pervert, and manipulate.

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

GIVING UP, GAINING, AND BEING REBORN (as a REAL HUMAN BEING) AGAIN

 

Over the past few years and up until recently (within the past few weeks) I have given up a number of things. As a result I have gained immensely in numerous other ways and, to be honest, I feel as if I have been reborn as a kid (teenager to my early twenties). Psychologically that is. And in my worldview and in my mental and behavioral outlook upon Life (and Death) and upon many other things as well – such as Work and Achievement and Enterprise and Industry.

Physically I am approaching 55 years old but the vast majority of the time I feel (in my body and how I can use it) like I’m about 30 years old.

Here are some of the things I have given up and what I have gained as a result:

Video games (gave them up years and years ago), haven’t missed them at all, they were a huge time-suck. Gain: Productive use of my time and an absolute revulsion for escapist entertainment. Feeling of being a kid again. To replace that kind of passive, escapist entertainment I took up real recreations again, including, but not limited to playing wargames and RPGs and board games with real people.

Cell Phone: as my family and friends will tell you I only use it for emergency and business communications. Or to take pics if I am vadding. I am untrackable otherwise and never turn it on. My wife and kids and even friends spent years trying to convince me to get one. But I’ve never liked the God-damned thing. (It is one of those pieces of modern technology that I can honestly hear God saying, “ah, that’s a real piece of infiltrating demonic shit son, and will only lessen your ability to truly Live, not enhance it. Burn the damned thing.” I can easily hear Christ saying that too, as an off-hand remark.) It has always revolted me. The idea of being traceable is also disgusting and unmanly to me. Nevertheless I keep it to please my wife and kids and for security reasons. Gain: Not using it or activating it means I always enjoy the Real World far more. I observe closely and easily all that goes on around mem as is my natural inclination. I haven’t had an auto-accident in over thirty years. Though I have avoided many. Time means nothing to me. I go where I wanna go and do what I wanna do. I talk constantly to strangers when travelling, often engage in and initiate conversations, or am engaged in or others initiate conversations with me. Nobody will bother talking to ya, nor do you bother meeting new people if you have a fucking phone stuck to your face all of the time or you’re so damned rude you think it more important than the actual people you’re in the company of. I don’t care for those shitheads and most others don’t either. Who would?

Eating: I gave up eating (doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my food, just don’t need much of it) any more than I really need to in order to sustain myself and to grow myself or repair damage during training. Gain: less weight, leaner, more muscle, better health, more energy, easy to fast.

Sugar: aside from chocolate (usually semi-sweet form) I take in none. Gain: Better energy, rarely tired (I can go to bed at midnight or one, arise at five or six AM and be good all day. Better health, hormone, and metabolic regulation. Rarely sick, injuries don’t bother me nearly as much as they used too. Rare pain unless I over-exert myself clearing land or training or boxing. Quicker recovery.

Soda: Gain: same as above for sugar. No advantages of any kind for sodas or processed sugar.

Bread: Gain: same as above. Occasionally I’ll eat flatbread or unleavened bread or antique breads.

Coffee: I drink this still, but very rarely now. Gain: better energy and metabolic self-regulation.

Junk Food: gave that shit up a long time ago. Gain: rarely sick, not fat, good diet and nutrition, take no meds of any kind (you’d be surprised how this shocks modern doctors and nurses and surgeons), good energy, train easily, little to no exhaustion, no desire to eat it. Taking in eating as a whole (diet, sugar, soda, bread, less consumption) my body is far better off, my mind is clear and alert, my concentration is superb, I dream and recall my dreams better, and my attitude is positive, optimistic, and happy.

Politics: gave this up about a six months or so ago. Aside from the necessary evils of my political duties (to thwart this world becoming a modern liberal, socialistic, Islamic, communistic, impoverished, tyrannical hellhole) I could give a shit less about politics and take no notice of it. Gain: nothing but positive, especially on my outlook and optimism. Also I got out of that modern, effeminate, unmanly, pussified habit of just talking about problems and politics ad infinitum (instead of acting on them) as if “consciousness raising” or “internet awareness” were some kind or form of valid problem solving. What a self-deluding, unmanly pussy pursuit. It is the political and social equivalent of modern Christians who say, “I’ll pray,” but never left their hands or can’t be bothered to actually do anything.  So I’m glad to be shed of that shit.

TV: gave up watching TV. Sent back DirectTV receiver and don’t watch local channels (haven’t done that for decades) and eliminated Netflix, etc. Gain: Don’t miss it. At all. Time I would have spent on that shit now goes to far more important things (like traveling, spending time with family, clearing land, my Work and Career, new start-ups, making submissions, networking, exploring, vadding, hanging out with friends, etc.) I also now spend a lot of time with my kids, cuddling and showing affection to my wife, more sex with her, etc. My self-education program flourishes. I stargaze more. My language acquisition programs have improved and advanced. Very much like being a kid again when I never watched TV. I was always far too busy doing things, learning things, having fun, and enjoying myself instead.

News: I gave up watching all TV news some time back. Gain: Happy, optimistic, not bothered by modern bullshit, not obsessed by disaster, doom, or politics (next to criminal and terrorist activity and entertainment and crack-whoring the lowest of all forms of human enterprise). Far less distraction.

Introversion: gave up any idea at all that I am a natural introvert. Yes, when it comes to Work I prefer to work alone, and always have, and likely to some degree always will. But with the kids now in college and having a free hand to maneuver my extroverted side has reasserted itself vigorously. So I have gone back to being what is my natural and true inclination, an Ambivert.  When working I am still basically an introvert, but when out in public or otherwise I am very much an extrovert, as my wife and kids can tell you. Gain: Immense.

Worrying About Money, or giving a shit about it: gave this up maybe two or three years ago. Something like that. Gain: better marriage, better family, increases in income, more time on Work and Career, easier money and time management, more saving and investments, more entrepreneurialism. Instead of giving a shit about money I now just say to myself: “what are my real momentary and monetary priorities, and knowing those I’ll get the money and constantly (over time) increase my income and Wealth.” If it is not really a priority then I don’t care one way or another. I am neither enslaved by lack of money, nor impressed by having it. And I feel more and more, even absolutely confident, that I will become incredibly wealthy over time. But I don’t give a shit for money other than what I can use it to do. (Build things, advance my career, take care of others, start businesses, invest, do charity and philanthropy, engage in science – do important things in the world.) Aside from what it allows me to do I am completely Stoic and entirely unconcerned about money. And I Sleep like a baby.

Professional Sports: I gave up watching professional sports decades ago, (almost three decades now) and college sports not long after that (reminds me far too much of pro sports).  To me they are merely vastly overpaid, spoiled, self-absorbed entertainers, and also they tend to be primarily urbanized Europeans in their mindsets (probably the result of nearly all pro-sport teams being located in big and degenerate cities, big city people never really understand just how naturally corrupting their urbanized environments and mindsets make them, but the corruption is deep even if rarely realized). I do not admire or respect most professional athletes and as far as their thin and anemic contributions to society I rank those right up there with other professional entertainers. Which means I don’t rank them very high at all. Not as a profession anyway, individuals vary, of course. I do not consider most to be manly in their natures at all. When a damned professional football game or team takes ten minutes to run a single play because of time outs and clock delays and men have to reset in huddle for an interminable time period lest they break a real sweat (or anything else) then to me that is the very height of pussydom and unmanliness, not sport. And there is nothing “professional” about that. That is the very opposite of professional when it comes to sport – which should be a test not only of skill, strength and of power, but of endurance, speed, toughness, reflexes, drive, determination, and exhaustion, and the effort to overcome weakness.  It isn’t any of those things anymore, it is an effeminate attempt to appear impressive yet preserve and coddle and overcompensate “assets” for purposes of entertainment. Also I won’t even bother to mention the effeminate nature of the politics that now also infect all professional and collegiate sports top to bottom. But I will say this, the modern politics of professional sports is the result of the decades long slide into effeminacy, over-concern with money and profit, and the obsession with appearance, not performance – or in other words, the effeminacy and unprofessionalism is not the result of the politics. That’s just a late stage symptom (and hopefully a terminal one). First came the decline in the full range of athleticism, then came the resulting political corruption, not the other way around. So instead I indulge myself in personal and amateur athletics – climbing, hiking in pack, weight-lifting, running (a little, not so much after I broke my wrist), boxing, exploring, outdoor activities, clearing land, using my axes and hatchets, etc. I will however watch little league baseball, or kids play soccer, rugby, football, baseball, etc. Because they are enjoying it just as sport, and as fun, and because they aren’t clogged and cluttered with endless rules and endorsements. Gain: great advantages to my own health, no time, money, or effort wasted on these meaningless distractions, and far better uses of my recreational activities.

Social Media and most of the Internet: aside from business purposes or aside from the fact of someone mentioning me on social media (don’t wanna be rude) or something truly important happening I don’t comment on it, respond to it, give a shit about it or use it. Social media might take two minutes out of my day, usually just to scan and make sure distant family and friends are okay. Many days, sometimes weeks go by, and I don’t bother to look at it. Also I am now far more naturally skeptical or anything and everything I see on the internet nowadays and many things tend to amuse rather than bother me. Gain: how do I list them, or how many can I possibly name? All that pointless, wasted time is now free for me to do as I wish, want, desire, or need. To spend on far more important things. And most everything in life is far, far more important. (Looking back upon it objectively now one of the worst sins of the baby-boomers was laying the groundwork for whole generations growing up on this bullshit and thinking it normal. Pathetic. Even bathetic. I hope one day when you kids grow past this pointless shit, and give it up too, you will forgive us… we really did a number on you. Not to mention ourselves.)

Other Things I have Gained as a Complimentary Result of my Revolt against all this Modern Bullshit: I spend more time with God, more time improving myself, I have more time to practice Christian Theurgy, more time for charity and philanthropic work, I spend more time praying and in meditation, more time at philosophy, and languages, more time writing (poetry, novels, articles, short stories, songs), more time learning music and playing guitar and piano, have more time for physical training, more time for inventing, I have gone back to the practice of Raja Yoga, more time playing wargames and gaming with people (RPGs etc.), more time with family, more time travelling, more time making new friends (in person, not on internet), more time outdoors and in nature, more time to pursue my more obscure interests and experiments, and I could probably go on and on in this vein.

In short, I haven’t lost a thing. Instead by giving up all of that otherwise unimportant, petty, modern shit and by fully enjoying the naturally resulting Gains thereof I am living like my ancestors, ancient ancestors, and a like Real Human Being again.
About bloody time…

GONE, AND GOOD RIDDANCE

Gave up all TV and Netflix. Glad, and way too busy for that crap.

Aside from work I/we (wife and family) are spending far more time on (active) recreation than (passive) entertainment…

FUN MORNING AND ENJOYABLE WORK

Felled a lotta trees this morning. Really like my new Poulan Pro chainsaw.

(Had planned to use it much earlier but with all the rain and travel had been using my WorX instead.)

Ordinarily I much prefer, and tend to use my axes.  But the underbrush had grown up so much that I just charged in with my chainsaw and started taking em down left and right.

Took me awhile to get back into the swing of using it because ordinarily I do it the Roman Way and use my hand-axes and hatchets. But once I remembered my old techniques it went really well.

Took down maybe five trees, many saplings, and a lotta underbrush.

By then the engine was smoking hot even with the oiling and the drive breaks. I figure from now on I’ll take down about ten full size trees or about 12 good sized saplings at a time then knock off.

They still gotta be cut up and hauled anyway.

Did have one problem though. Cutting down a sapling (about twenty feel tall) and apparently it was partially diseased and rotten on the inside and collapsed backwards against the direction of cutting and trapped my chain and chainsaw blade.  I tried lifting the tree back against the direction of the fall but couldn’t grab the chainsaw at the same time. But the tree snapped after a few moments anyway due to the rot.

Didn’t appear to warp the blade or damage the chain and so I went on and cut down some more trees.

Gonna do a complete cleaning maintenance on it before next use though.

Fun morning and enjoyable work. Now to hike Sam and move on to writing and business… have a good day folks.

ALWAYS ACT

Always Act. Always act at good and noble objectives and causes, and always act in a Virtuous manner, but always act.

With fire in your blood and with relentless drive.

Our entire society in America (all of the corrupt parts anyway) and especially in the West (Europe I mean you) is geared towards impotent things; like groupish herdism, innate passivity, and overall emotional effeminacy.

They mistake talk for Activity, and argument and protest for actual Solutions.

But instead you should Act in a Manly and Masculine fashion (and that has nothing to do with sex or gender, but rather with individual Behavior and personal Weltanschauung) at good and important things and you will not only go much, much farther at achieving your real goals in life, but eventually you will conquer the world… but not if you acquiescence and submit to, or genuflect for, the current cultural and societal norms pathetically common in the West.

That is a somewhat lonely life at this point in time (especially in the effeminate West) but it is the only kind of worthwhile life that has ever been worth living.

Podcast #425: Action Over Feelings

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/e4920c26-dd54-4fb7-aa6d-59c95d2babe3/embed

While we often associate Eastern spiritual and philosophical traditions with meditation and contemplation, there’s another side to this wisdom that centers on action and can help us move through depression, anxiety, fear, and just general malaise.

My guest today is the author of a book about this action-oriented philosophy. His name is Gregg Krech, he’s the co-founder of the ToDo Institute, and his book is The Art of Taking Action: Lessons from Japanese Psychology.

Today on the show, Gregg and I discuss a Japanese psychological technique called Morita therapy, which concentrates on accepting instead of fixing one’s thoughts and feelings, and acting in spite of them. We discuss how action can be a powerful antidote to depression, anxiety, and interpersonal conflicts, how to act when you don’t feel like it, how to stay motivated when the initial rush of a new project or relationship has worn off, and why it’s better to have a purpose-driven rather than a feelings-driven life. We end our conversation unpacking the idea that busyness is not the same thing as purposeful action, and why we need self-reflection to tell the difference between the two.

Show Highlights

  • What is Morita therapy? How does it compare to Western psychology?
  • The action-oriented nature of Eastern philosophy
  • Gandhi, man of action
  • How does Morita define action? What does taking action really mean?
  • The skill of using your attention effectively
  • What playing some blues at a nightclub taught Gregg about anxiety
  • How do you take action when you can’t get yourself to do anything?
  • Why you’re only depressed when you notice you’re depressed
  • Why do we put off taking action?
  • How we tend to let feelings determine our actions
  • Moving from feeling-oriented to purpose-oriented
  • The role of kaizen in Morita therapy
  • How Morita can help people who may be good at starting things, but can’t finish them
  • Is there such a thing as too much action?

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Gregg

ToDo Institute

 

I NOW USE SOCIAL MEDIA ENTIRELY DIFFERENTLY: THE PERSONAL ABDICATION AGE

I now use social media entirely differently than I did before after just a two week haitus (from my previous methods).

1. I now no longer make any comments on social media at all unless it is extremely important that I do so or it is for professional reasons. (Following basically the Elon Musk method of employing social media).

2. I no longer give a shit for commenting on social media about political matters, and politics is 90 to 95% of the cesspool of social media, and possibly 75 to 80% of the overall sepsis that is the modern internet. (Along with inane comments about sports and music and film and pop-culture. When you really look at it entirely objectively and logically it is a wretchedly hollow and empty landscape of little inherent value.) No wonder modern man (for whom I have little respect anyway) is so fucking pathetically stupid, not to mention willingly ignorant and uneducated on most all other matters, that being the apex of his thoughts, aspirations, achievements, and modern philosophies, and that being the outside orbital limits of his intelligence.

Yes, I still understand and always will that politics is a necessary and degenerate evil, that if not exercised properly allows and condones a passive and juvenile acceptance of evil, but the internet is not the place to exercise even a modest level of force or reform.  So when I must be politically active I do so in a  place and forum and among those people and groups that can actually accomplish something of true merit. For I am not a modern man to either ridiculously believe that man will be “saved” by anything as temporal or moronic or self-deluding as politics, nor am I a modern man who believes that mere “awareness” leads to anything of actual use at all. Especially the interminable and effeminate “awareness raising of modern man.”

If it takes you more than a short period of time to come to understand the nature of a given problem, and you must pass year after year in an effort of “awareness raising” then you are either an outright fool or the problem is something far different than you currently imagine. And that problem is you.

The actual Truth is that “awareness raising” is simply the habitual and shameless socialized pussy tactic of modern men to hide their effeminate and innate (or well-trained) personal cowardice, and to conceal their stubborn self-refusal to act.

Same for this modern movement of “let’s just all live in peace and harmony” no matter how the other people truly behave and act. Yes, a man should live in peace and harmony with others in most things, but where evil flourishes you do not accommodate, you eliminate. Harmony is for consonant and tonal musical accompaniment in major keys, not for the passive accommodation of real wrong in the real world in human societies.

There is no such thing as an actual good to be achieved by accommodating evil, or by endless awareness raising. Neither is Real, in the sense of having any relation to a worthwhile Reality. Both are the bathetic social constructs of a deeply sick society, and of a corrupt and bovinely herdish culture.

Men act. They do not debate endlessly or post without end about their intentions. Real Men set to work, not to ceaseless talk, nor do they dwell upon the same problem incessantly and forever.

(I offer you the effeminate and dishonorable/unmanly disaster that is Western Europe as but one blatantly obvious example of this factual point.)

If a problem is easy to solve then they simply solve it, case closed. If the problem is currently insoluble then they set it aside until such time as they can effectively act against it. If a problem is serious enough to pose a real threat then they act instantly to kill it. Problem solved.

The internet and social media is not currently geared towards either Manhood or Problem-Solving, it is geared towards effeminate indecision and inactivity and the unnatural problem amplification this can only surely intensify.

3. If I have something really important to say or do or build or create then I seek publishers or agents or allies or investors or partners with whom to act and to pursue profit, not internet and social media buddies with whom to commiserate or endlessly review the same problems no one is bothering to resolve. Again, action is what counts in life. Not endless chatter. This is how you actually achieve in life, and social media is not a real accomplishment, and the modern internet is not a conducive field of worthwhile activity. It is rather primarily a liability and a time-use profit cost, and/or a method of self-distraction disguised as supposedly sophisticated communications that are likewise camouflaged as real social interaction.

It is primarily (incessant) mental masturbation and near eternal social escape and evasion. The Bread and Circuses of the “Information Age.” And I use that term sardonically, of course, – it should actually be called “The Personal Abdication Age” or the “Age of Intentional Individual Impotence.”

(I also now have some real and good inkling of why the “personalities” of so many people on-line are so crudely and incompletely developed. They have used technology and the internet as an artificial and poor substitute for actual personality and psychological development. You know, the kinds of things you sued to have to do in Real Life.)

4. I use social media almost exclusively now for professional reasons, to promote my work, to make profitable contacts, or to make useful and interesting discoveries (similar to how I used it in the early days, on message-boards). Otherwise it tends to revolt me just to think on it.

5. I do scan social media approximately once a week to assure my more distant friends and family (and even pleasant acquaintances) are safe and thriving and if they need support in some way (encouragement, prayer, or charitable assistance) then I give it, or if I can go visit them in person (isn’t that an incredibly radical concept?), then I do so. Otherwise I keep my mouth shut and my effort and attention on actual activity. Not on mere commentary.

In these ways I can limit my entire social media time and presence to about ten minutes per week and often to under five minutes a week.

As for my Real Social Life – it thrives. I explore every week now, travel a great deal (often, though not always, with my wife), meet new people and engage in real conversations regularly, am again joining organizations and groups of like-minded and like-acting individuals, can allow my extroverted side free rein (and reign) again, and am just generally enjoying the hell out of myself. (It definitely helps that both my children are now in college and are likewise thriving, so I am again free to maneuver without anchor or hindrance, you might say).

I can foresee no reason to ever again return to my misguided and juvenile previous use of social media, and I encourage everyone to abandon it as much as possible or even altogether, or at least to radically reform how you use and employ it.

You will never again regain the time you ineffectively and effeminately and profitlessly pissed away on social media.

But you can halt that pointless habit right now, and replace it with far, far better… like a Real Social Life. Or a Real Life of almost any kind.

COMPLIMENTARY, NOT CONTRADICTORY

Combining sound Scientific Principles with useful Aesic (Aesic simply being the term for all of the various spiritual actions in which I engage) Methods and combining both of those with reliable Theurgical Practices has allowed me to make great advances along all three disciplines and areas of activity.

(As opposed to thinking these various disciplines and endeavours are either a substitute for each other or that they are in some way contradictory to each other. But in fact each is naturally complimentary to the other.)

That seems as if it would be immediately self-obvious idea to all but you would be surprised at the numbers of people to whom this idea seems entirely alien, if not outright heretical…

ANOTHER GOD AWFUL GOOD DAY – AND THE RETURN OF THE MANTICORE

Had another God awfully (in the true sense of the term God-awe-full) good and profitable day. Plus it was an enormously fun day. This has become my consistent habit.

While I traveled today I finished up my lecture series on Ancient Religion in the Mediterranean World and then listened (or re-listened, haven’t heard it since I was in my twenties) to the First disc of Return of the Manticore, which was excellent indeed.

I really, really like progressive Rock groups, especially those that derive much of their work through adaptation of ancient, art, classical, and folk music, scores, and sources, as does ELP.

Plus I was able to score several truly useful treasures today including adding to my personal library two of the works formerly held in the library of Robert Jordan (really regret never meeting him, and a real shame too since he was a fellow South Carolinian and just judging from the works I purchased from his library we would have been completely sympatico). One was on Byzantium history (which will be truly useful for my historical novels), another on Mathematics (he was  a nuclear engineer in the Navy – our math and scientific interests were very close indeed).

I’ll talk about these two treasures later in another post. As the number of books I’ve scored from his library is now impressive. He had a superb library indeed. One of the best personal libraries I’ve ever seen. I feel honored to have obtained so much of it.

I got home late, near nightfall but since it is summer and we are prone to slow sunsets this time of year I decided to cut grass. But it started to rain and therefore I couldn’t cut grass, but, just for fun I rode around on my tractor in the rain for the pure enjoyment and hell of it.  Rode it all over my lands, up and down the country roads, and over to my nephew’s house. Got soaking wet and laughed a lot and had a ball.

Then came into the house and listened to ELP and Gustav Mahler (Das Lied Von Der Erde) with my oldest daughter while she read some of the poetry I wrote back in high school and college.

Truly I am becoming a teenager again and having a helluvah good time at it…

NEEDS TO BE MOCKED…

that entire modern liberal generation seems dumb as dirt… plus they are pathetically obsessed with politics and it is obvious that is all they know of the world…

THE VOICE OF TIME

I really enjoyed hearing Shackleton’s, Whitman’s, Einstein’s, and Curie’s voices.

RETURN TO YESTERDAY

I have returned to a 1970s lifestyle and I haven’t been this happy since I was a teen and in my early twenties.

Over the past few years I have given up video and computer gaming, the phone (I only use my phone to take pictures, necessary business calls, take security text from my children, and I have a program which mimics a tricorder with which I take electromagnetic readings, use as a compass, etc. when exploring or traveling – otherwise I don’t use my phone and never use it or answer it in public) all professional sports (actually I haven’t watched professional sports in decades really), watching the news, any kind of car communications, and recently I have given up all social media (other than my blogs) and most of the use of my computer and the internet (except for professional reasons).

Also other than the bare minimum (as a necessary evil) I take no interest in or notice of politics, for politics is, without any doubt at all, the single lowest of all human occupations and interests (aside from criminal activity, terrorism, and that kind of thing).

As soon as the kids both get back into college (in about another month) the wife and I have been discussing giving up TV altogether too.

So, instead of that meaningless crap, I do these things: I explore, I travel, I work and write (by hand mostly, in manuscript form and have others type it), I read (even more so than before), I research and when I need to do research I do it in libraries not on the internet, I hike, I pray, I meditate and talk with God a lot, I practice Raja Yoga again, I practice Christian Theurgy (more and more successfully I might add), I invent, I discover, I conduct scientific experiments, I engage in business projects, I invest, I practice charity and philanthropy, I market and submit my work, I spend time designing my new mansion, I build my wealth, I socialize a lot, I watch little league baseball and soccer games played by kids, I build my networks, I explore churches and old buildings, I vad, I visit other cities and towns and universities and many libraries,  I add to my personal library, I write poetry, I listen to and compose music, I write songs and am learning to play the guitar, I practice playing the piano,  I spend time with my pets and family and children, I improve and work on my marriage (which is already good, but only gets batter over time), I play D&D and wargames (I actively recreate rather than engage in passive entertainments), I learn new languages, I work on my math,  I make useful observations, I build things, I weight lift and train, I clear land (by hand mostly, though I do have new chainsaws), I meet new people (almost every day), I adventure and have fun, and most of all I enjoy the living hell out of myself. (Or Heaven even, depends on how you wanna phrase it.)

As a result I am extremely happy. And I am deeply at peace. And I am supremely confident and satisfied. Not complacent or content, I have many ambitions yet to fulfill in life – but for the moment I am highly satisfied and truly grateful.

I have come to understand that so many of the technologies and conveniences and the overall “lifestyle” (if, indeed, it can be called truly living) of modern life are designed (either intentionally or unintentionally) to entrap and suck the Real Life from you – body, mind, soul, and spirit. And that deeply repulses me. I have a natural revulsion of man-traps.

So, I have returned to the lifestyle I so much enjoyed back n the 1970s. And in some ways I also practice a lifestyle very similar to that of the Medieval and Ancient ages as well. I live partly as an inventor, partly as a poet, partly as a scientist, partly as a householder, husband, and father, partly

And it enthralls and enthuses and elates me.

I will therefore not be returning to the “modern lifestyle” or to being a “modern man.” (Not that I ever really was a modern man.) Both are ugly and infantile, impotent and morose, and mostly useless. Both are harbingers of death and unhappiness, not Life, Satisfaction, and Achievement.

So to hell with and fuck em both.

For the rest of my Life I will be myself instead and do things exactly as I desire to do them. Which has been most of the course of my life anyway, but for a while I let the modern world make me forget that. To distract me with its empty toys and to try to convince me of its pathetic and deceptive values.

But to fix that I’m burying that skeletal sonuvabitch right now.

And I won’t be digging him back up. Not ever again…

SCREW THE DAMNED CELLPHONE AND TO HELL WITH SOCIAL MEDIA

Brett | July 5, 2018

Podcast

Podcast #420: What Makes Your Phone So Addictive & How to Take Back Your Life

https://art19.com/shows/e5688437-885d-4fe7-964f-d16ba7b541c5/episodes/f82d0e7a-5917-4ac0-9fa6-c568bcb20e42/embed

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a powerful computer in your back pocket that allows you to listen to this podcast, check the score of your favorite team, and learn the population of Mickey Mantle’s hometown of Commerce, OK (answer: 2,473). Our smartphones are a blessing, but for many people they can also feel like a curse. You feel compelled to check your device all the time, leaving you feeling disengaged from life. 

What is it about modern technology that makes it feel so addictive? My guest todayexplores that topic in his book, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked. His name is Adam Alter and today on the show, we discuss what makes today‘s technology more compelling than the televisions and super Nintendos of old, whether our itch to check our phones can really be classified as an addiction, what soldiers’ use of heroin during the Vietnam War can tell us about why our attachment to our phones is hard to shake, and how the reward we’re looking for on social media isn’t actually the “likes” themselves. Adam then shares what he thinks is the most effective tactic for taking back control of our tech, and how consumers may be able to influence the direction of its future. 

Show Highlights

  • Why do tech companies design their devices/apps to be addictive?
  • Why Steve Jobs never let his own kids use an iPad
  • Is it possible to truly be addicted to our tech?
  • How much time are most people really spending on their phones? (It’s an astounding number.)
  • The deleterious effects of technology on social skills
  • What makes today’s tech so different from the tech of a couple decades ago?
  • What heroine use in the Vietnam War can tell us about the effects of our environment/context on our behaviors
  • Tactics that companies use to get our attention, including hijacking our goals
  • How casinos have influenced the way tech companies design their products
  • How video game companies “on-ramp” players to get them hooked, and how other tech companies have used that template
  • The ways social media amplifies these addictive components
  • How do you get a hold of a behavior you can’t seem to shake?
  • Will recent bad press actually force companies like Facebook to make any changes?

(THE EXTROVERTED) SIGMA MALE

Whereas I don’t agree with every detail of this description I do agree that it is accurate to a large extent.

I have also personally discovered that the more and more I reengage with personal social activities (now that my children are finally in college) the less and less I care for social media.

I am becoming extremely extroverted again but I only really desire personal, real world social contacts and social media (on the other hand) more and more repulses me. (Though that has been building upon me for several years now.)

And I have little desire or interest in social media (I hesitate to call most of it truly social and much of it actual media) other than for purely professional reasons.

 

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

WHAT I’LL DO TODAY

On Maundy Thursday I like to remember and to pray for the dearly departed. Family members I have lost, friends who have died or been killed, even pets I miss.

To pray for their souls and that they thrive. Wherever they are and whatever they are doing. It’s a personal thing but it always seems appropriate to me on the Thursday of Mysteries and to commemorate the Last Supper.

Also, I’m gonna take Communion later today. With my family.

Have a Holy and productive Thursday of Mysteries folks!

THE OLD SNAFFLEFU

Excellent. I also like Snafflefu.

That’s when you’re attempting to lift something off your mark and he suddenly spots ya, calls in the embassy guards, and all hell breaks loose.

Or variantly, when you’re trying to get away from the embassy (because you just boosted something valuable off the foreign ambassador) and your reins break, your horse spits his bit, and then throws you to boot.

That’s a real snafflefu too… lol!

______________________________________________________

Word of the Day: Snaffle

Pronunciation: /SNAFF-ul/

Definition: (verb, noun)

1) to obtain especially by devious or irregular means.
2) take (something) for oneself, typically quickly or without permission.
3) (on a bridle) a simple bit, typically a jointed one, used with a single set of reins.

Etymology: mid 16th century (denoting a bridle bit): probably from Low German or Dutch; compare with Middle Low German and Middle Dutch snavel ‘beak, mouth’ The verb (mid 19th century) is perhaps a different word.

Word of the day from my buddy Troy.

AS LOW AND AS BLACK AS HELL

AS LOW AND AS BLACK AS HELL

The real problem with this world is not that the United States of America is too bright a beacon of too high a morality, for often we are far darker than we ever should be. (Take abortion as but one hideous and pagan example.)

No, the real problem is not that America is too bright a moral beacon to endure the sight of, or too high a citadel to scale, the real problem is that almost invariably, and no matter the circumstance, the rest of the world is as low and as black as hell.

THE FALL ITSELF

“…the Almighty hath not built
Here for his envy, will not drive us hence:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.”

 

 

Most people think that Paradise Lost is first and foremost the tale of the Fall of Man and the loss of his Paradise on Earth.

In Truth Paradise Lost is first and foremost the tale of how Lucifer forever lost Heaven, Earth, Paradise,  and eventually even hell to become a mere romantic hero, a fool, a failure, and a ruin of his former Self. All because he mistook license for Liberty, revolt for Responsibility, fervor for Freedom, and wrong for Wisdom.

For the Fall of Man was but a worldly incident of a Fall Unmade by a Better and far more Universal Man.

The Fall from Heaven was a universal fall, the unmaking of a being that chose the smallest and most puny thing over the greatest and the most everlasting. In other words, such a fall is the very Fall Itself.

 

DEMOCRACIES AND THE REAL REPUBLIC

DEMOCRACIES AND THE REAL REPUBLIC

In a democracy (especially a socialistic one) the general idea is that every man ought to be free enough to be able to do precisely as he will any time he chooses, be that for good or for ill.

In a Republic (especially a Christian one) the general principle ought to be that every man should be trained from birth to will himself to do only what is Good, Just, and Wise.

If you don’t understand the difference between these two radically different concepts and modes of governance (the one commanded by mere herds of mortal men, the other of the True Self) then it is probably because you have never been seriously or long trained in what is Good, Just, and Wise, or because you have made such an idolatrous fetish of liberty at all costs that what is Good, Just, and Wise has no real prime meaning or influence upon you.

from Political Cause

CAULDRON COOKING

On Sunday I cooked lunch for the family as I usually do.

I made a chicken fajitas rice meal with peppers, oranges, corn, shredded cheese, and honey,  snap pea stir fry vegetables and water chestnuts cooked in olive oil, fresh strawberries, and sour cream. As was typical I used plenty of herbs and spices. Since we were out of white wine I drank green tea with ginseng and honey and had a cup of coffee (not shown).

Not the best lunch I’ve ever made but certainly quite good.

Strangely enough I have learned something new about cooking from playing Skyrim. I now cook the main course on Sunday in a mini-cauldron (I’m going to be getting an even larger cauldron for this very purpose) and thereafter we can eat leftovers for the next two to three days.

 

THE WATCHERS

Since my oldest daughter is home on break (from college) we went into town today to eat at O’Charleys. Took some pics of our adventure outside the restaurant.  Then afterwards went to see a movie. Had a ball with my posse. And got in some Monty Python type funny walks too.

I like my posse. Saw some awful weird things up in the sky though. And my oldest daughter saw something weird in my mouth. I think it kinda scared her. Lol!

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

THE PHILOSOPHICAL SPHERE AND THE COHERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE

 

I have been rather intensely studying the book Advanced Wizardry by Loricus ben Abechai since I first got it about a year or so ago. The book deals with actual “magic” and “wizardry” though, like me, he has a radically different idea of what both are compared to popular notions of the same. (He is, for instance, I strongly suspect, a Christian Khabbalist as he speaks often and loftily of “The Logos” and many other such mystical Christian terms, and Jewish terms, and relates them all to magic.)

Anyway in the sections I am now reading he has been speaking about the creation of the Wizard’s personal “Philosophical Sphere.” A notion I have never before encountered in any book of magic (certainly not as he means it) even a Medieval or ancient or neo-Platonic one. Though the idea is certainly based upon Jacob Bohme’s idea of the Philosophical Sphere. Now a blog is hardly the place to discuss such ideas or terms because they are quite complex and well beyond what is usually discussed here. And I had to read and re-read what he was saying over and again before it really sank in, the full implications, that is to say. For the man’s original language seems to be Spanish and even though the book is in English the translations are sometimes spotty at best.

But essentially I’ll summarize the idea as best I can:

The Philosophical Sphere is what results when the Wizard transforms or transmutes the Tree of Life into a Sphere whose circumference of immediate effect and power (dunamis) obviously extends about ten feet in diameter in all directions from the Wizard but whose real diameter is infinite and which encompasses everything and so it’s circumference is also eternal. In other words, and this is not exaggeration, the Wizard attempts to create a pocket universe in the form of a Sphere over which he exercises control similar to the way God exercises control over all of existence. This Sphere is not, however, anti-scientific at all, as ben Abechai stresses, because the Sphere cannot create matter or energy out of nothing. Rather it accelerates and interconnects the rate at which things move from Ideal Form or Thought-Form to actual matter and physical substance. What is Real and what Occurs is not altered in the sense of “creation” (only God can truly create) but rather the rate at which things “materialize” into useful (read Practical) and acceptable (read Good, or Beneficial, as opposed to bad or malignant) forms is altered and greatly sped up (or malignant processes can be slowed or possibly even stopped).

In others words things do not moves from Idea or Concept or Conception through the normal and complicated process of materialization to finally appear as either perceptible energy or useful matter, but rather move straight from Concept or Idea or “Logos” to “thing” (object, material). It is the process and speed that is altered by the Philosophical Sphere.

This is indeed a highly brilliant magical concept as it mimics, on the part of the Wizard, the method by which God creates, except of course that God can create literally from nothing whereas the Wizard cannot, but what the Wizard can do is alter the rate from Spiritual Concept to Physical Reality. As the very term implies there is a corresponding necessary set of actions and training required to study and employ the ways in which God behaves (to the Christian this would be “Imitating Christ”) for Philosophy itself means “Love of Wisdom.”

At first though I did not fully grasp what he was saying until he used the term “coherent” for how the Sphere works in conjunction with God, the Wizard, and the surrounding or “outer universe.” Then I realized that he literally meant “Co-Herent,” not as the term is typically used to mean integrity and orderly (though those meanings are also necessarily implied) but both “Inherent and Exherent – or explicit” and that the Sphere exists both within the Universe and within God and the Wizard simultaneously causing all three (points or positions) to fuse together as an inseparable element or Loci. (It just occured to me that the sphere is also a Loci for the Logos!)

Therefore the Sphere is “Coherent” just as it is “Coeval” in the way it can manipulate matter and energy and ben Abechai goes on even further to say that the sphere is in fact, in this sense, the only True or Real Universe (to the Wizard) even though it is a “pocket universe.”

(I am using a sci-fi term because modern men can easily get this idea whereas a “Coherent World or Universe separate from but essential to and within the outer world and in which God and the Wizard operate in tandem” is a term that would be more Medieval and Ancient in concept, and more accurate, as much as words can actually describe such concepts, but would not be easily understand by many modern men. Though I do not think ben Abechai means pocket universe as modern men understand the term, but as a truly independent universe or world within the mind and soul of the Wizard that is capable or transmuting and transforming, or rewriting the world in which all other things exist. The best parallel I can think of is The Kingdom of God idea expressed by Christ and I suspect ben Abechai may mean this precisely. Or something very closely parallel. An invisible but nonetheless very real “pocket universe” seeking to impinge it’s self upon the world around us. Though in actuality, as ben Abechai says, this would in fact be the “True Universe” seeking to supplant or replace the unreal or untrue one.)

The real trick is, of course, the Creation of a properly functioning and constructed Philosophical Sphere, no mean trick as it is literally a curved in upon itself or Spherically transformed Tree of Life.

But if it could be done then it could be an incredible, and incredibly useful feat. Ben Abechai calls this (the Sphere) the “Chief or Primary Tool or Instrument of the Wizard” upon which all the failure or success of his other operations and works as a Wizard entirely depend. So, once all of the necessary preparations and studies are made on my part I shall attempt the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere. (Though i very much suspect that I have been doing this for most of my life now, just maybe mostly sub-consciously in many ways, rather than fully consciously.)

As an example of what I mean another odd or coincidental thing (if you believe in coincidence) in my studies of this book is the fact that my personal motto is “Deus Ordere, et facere ego verite.” Meaning, God Orders and I make Real. (Well, that is the easiest and most common translation I use anyway).

I have had this motto for most of my life, though i only put it in this final form about two decades ago.

In any case I was looking through the suggested method ben Abechai recommends for the creation of my own Philosophical Sphere and ran across this declaration/statement, “In Nomine Tuo Ordo Deum Factum Lumine Est.”

Interesting, eh?

Well, I have other Work to do. I highly recommend ben Abechai’s book, Advanced Wizardry. It was expensive, and it had to be individually printed, but it is without doubt the very best single book on “magic” I have read to date.

Have a good day folks.

I WANT YOU…

Superb! I love Postmodern Jukebox…

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

DAY WITHOUT A FACE

Had a friend who said, “this is the face of evil.”

It also looks suspiciously like a polymerized death-mask. Or android skin grown from a synthetic iguana. I suspect if you cut into his face that rather than bleeding blood he’d slowly seep an embalming solution, turpentine, servo-fluid, or maybe a black Hydra ichor.

 

MENTENIS

“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”
 
Always go for the golden button on top. That’s where all the good stuff is.
 
And on a more serious note, it is a real shame that modern man has lost so much of his rural festival and celebration backgrounds, those from both pagan and Christian times.
 
Those things used to hold us to the ground, made us realize things about time, made us grateful for things working. Losing those things weakens us, make us think that only technology and science is important. (And I do happen to like and to think most science and technology is important just not all-important.) Makes us think we are the inevitable and undisputed masters of our own fate (and nowadays we control much of our own fate, but much still is beyond our control and we should be reminded of that, and appreciative of that).
 
Most of all though we’ve lost our ties to our neighbors, to the seasons, to the Earth, and to our own blood. And I don’t mean this modern Nazi-era shit of resurgent, hyperzealous, omni-political tribe, race, clan, class, etc. but of our own blood, and bodies, and muscles, and of where we came from. As individuals.
 
We’re far too urbanized now. Too much like insects in nests and colonies. Too constricted and herded, and herdish. Too puny by ourselves and in nature. Which is where we truly thrive. Despite, or because of it’s hardships and dangers. You can’t become tough or strong in a sheltered, sterile world. Much less stay tough and strong in such a world.
 
Too weak to wander.
 
Two other things. Living so far from nature masks of animals might seem creepy I guess. To many moderns. They don’t to me though. They are not scary at all to me.
 
And yeah, I like the idea of throwing kids over fences. When I was a kid I got tossed over fences on numerous occasions. I thought it was grand.
 
I hated fences.

It’s February 23, Metenis Day. An ancient festival looks like the lovechild of Christmas and Halloween

Love Christmas and Halloween?  The ancient Latvian Spring waiting holiday of Meteņis or Meteni combines eerie and cheery.

Also called Lastavāgs, Aizgavēnis, Miesmetis, Buduļi Eve, and Pie Day, Metenis includes a masked parade, singing, dancing, feasting and drinking.

A Latvian spirit in charge of growing flax, Metenis was believed to arrive on a sleigh.

Now Latvians, Estonians and Lithuanians celebrate by sledding, which they believe will make the flax grow longer.

The faster and longer the sled glides, the faster and higher the flax will grow.  Though a ride on a sled, a horse-drawn carriage, or even skating on a pond will do.

You might hear traditional sledding cries:

“My father has tall flax!”
“My father’s is taller!”
“My father’s is taller still, and has a golden button on top!”

Any journey is significant.  People used to walk from farm to farm to encourage the flax and (for some reason) throw children over the fence.

Some popular Meteņi traditions are: wearing masks, chasing away Metenis, searching for the button of happiness, driving away moles from gardens and cooking delicious Meteņi porridge.

To drive away Winter,  a symbolic dragon, straw dolls and logs are burned.  The ashes are spread across the land for a fruitful New Year.

Traditional Masks of Metenis

The most well-known masks are a crane, a bear, hay vāls, butthead, Wolf, Gypsy, the living dead and death.

  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
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  • Metenis Day
  • Metenis Day
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Meteņi is about people eating and drinking as much as they want. During this time pigs were slaughtered, so the traditional holiday dishes are pig’s head and fritters. Parents throw gifts to their children from a height as if the goddess Laima is raining gifts from the heavens.

The Metenis table is loaded with treats – pea balls, beans, barley porridge, pancakes, smoked pork boiled into a porridge of barley and potatoes, pork head, pork ears and tail and bacon buns.

Round shaped scones symbolise the upcoming spring.  Beer used to be specially brewed for the celebrations.  Now you can probably enjoy some very nice craft beers.

If you want to celebrate Metenis Day today, be sure to eat pig, wear a mask and go on a journey.

Just remember – the longer Meteņis is celebrated, the better the harvest is expected following summer.

 

UTOPIA IS NOT ONLY CREEPY, IT IS ENTIRELY UNTRUE

Personally I think the actual truth lies somewhere in the middle between the hyper-life of the modern technologist and the future will be bleak anti-technologist. It depends almost entirely on not only what man invents but how he chooses to actually employ his inventions/technology. 

That being said I am a firm anti-Utopian. I do not believe in the human utopia (not socialistic, not economic, not technological or scientific, etc.) , either that it is possible, or desirable. It is a badly conceived, utterly juvenile and naive, and entirely impractical idea.

By the way, in listening to him, I can’t help but wonder if Nicholas Carr is not in some way related to Caleb Carr one of my favorite contemporary fiction writers.

 

Brett | February 7, 2017

Personal Development & Philosophy, Podcast

Podcast #276: Utopia is Creepy

A few weeks ago, I had futurist Kevin Kelly on the podcast to discuss the technological trends that are shaping our future. From driverless cars to artificial intelligence that will make new scientific discoveries, Kevin paints a fairly rosy picture of what’s to come.

My guest today sees a different side of the coin, and argues that the future envisioned by many in Silicon Valley is, well, kind of creepy.

His name is Nicholas Carr, and he’s the author of several books that critique the wide-eyed utopianism of technologists. In his book The Shallowshe reported on the research that shows how Google is making us dumber; in The Glass Cage he explored the science on why outsourcing our work and chores to computers and robots might actually make us miserable and unsatisfied in life; and in his latest book, Utopia is CreepyCarr pulls together all the essays he’s written over the years on how the rapid changes in technology we’ve seen in the past few decades might be robbing us of the very things that make us human.

Today on the show, Nicholas and I discuss why he thinks our utopian future is creepy, how the internet is making us dumber, and why doing mundane tasks that we otherwise would outsource to robots or computers is actually a source of satisfaction and human flourishing. We finish our discussion by outlining a middle path approach to technology — one that doesn’t reject it fully but simultaneously seeks to mitigate its potential downsides.

Show Highlights

  • Why the ideology that Silicon Valley is promoting and selling is bad for human flourishing
  • How the frictionless ideal of tech companies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
  • Why is the idea of utopia so creepy?
  • Why don’t tech companies see that what they’re doing can be perceived as creepy?
  • The illusion of freedom and autonomy on the internet
  • What “digital sharecropping” is and why it exploits content creators
  • The myth of participation and the pleasures of being an audience member
  • Information gathering vs developing knowledge
  • Why Nicholas doesn’t use social media
  • The real danger that AI present humanity (and it’s not necessarily the singularity)
  • Is virtual reality going to catch on? Does it present any problems for society?
  • How can we opt out of the ideology that Silicon Valley is trying to sell?
  • How to ask questions of our technology

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re a bit leery of technology like myself, then you’ll definitely enjoy all of Nicholas’ books. Utopia Is Creepy gives you a big picture look at all of Nick’s ideas on the often overlooked downsides of our unquestioned adoption of digital technology. Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Connect With Nicholas Carr

Nicholas’ website

Nicholas’ blog, Rough Type

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

 

 

 

 

 

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

OUT OF YOUR GREAT CESSPOOLS

Out of the “great cities and sprawling urban centers” arise most of the plagues, wholly avoidable disasters, entirely degenerate ideas, unnecessary wars, vapid cultures, weird religions and pathetic self-worshiping idols, bizarre theories, corrupt societies, criminal enterprises, ridiculous examples of fanatical human behavior, tyrannical governments, and mindless, violent herds and mobs that have ever most destructively afflicted the entire Race of Man.

It has always been this way, it will always be that way.

Individually and in small groups man is a wonder, a marvel, a charitable and just being, courageous, productive and capable, clean, pious, truthful, hard-working, often wise and perhaps even, on occasion, a true genius. Just a little lower than the angels, but often even far more humble.

Collectively and in large numbers he is naive, a patsy and a dupe, a tribalist, a socially warped and serfish coward, self-indulgent and self-destructive, degenerate, arrogant, criminalistic, easily manipulated, lazy, a fool, and very often something of an animal. Lower than a beast, for sure, but more desperate and diseased than a virus.

MORE ROMAN PROGRESS

Got my time down to 40 minutes for a  2 1/2 to 3 mile hike in light pack (30 pounds) plus cutting down two small pine trees (soft wood) of about 15 to 20 feet tall with my hatchet. Just finished timing and testing myself.

Also I have divided my packs and rucks into light (30 pounds), medium (50 pounds) and heavy (70 pounds). I thought about making my heavy pack 80 to 100 pounds but given my previously broken back and my knee injuries 70 pounds seemed adequate for my training purposes especially since my Roman Way training (which I’ll discuss later) usually involves carrying tires and logs as well. No sense courting injury, especially at my age. Yeah, yeah, I know, 53 ain’t what it used to be.  People are a lot healthier, stronger, and more youthful than they used to be. Assuming they eat right and take care of themselves. And often I feel like I’m in my thirties, not fifties.

But it took me almost six months to fully rehab my broken wrist from last year and I’m still not up to where my bench press used to be.

However just last week I did 20 pulls ups and later 20 chin ups in the same training routine in addition to my bench presses and the rest of my routine with no wrist pain at all. So that’s good progress as well. And I’m down to 175 pounds, much of which is lean muscle now and so that’s a big advantage.

Also this past weekend I went out in the car and measured where I used to run as a kid. No wonder I was so skinny back then. Turns out I used to run about 8 to 12 miles most every day after school back when I was a kid. Depending on the circuit I took of course. I was thinking I was running more like 4 to 8 miles a day as a kid.

Of course back then I seriously overtrained. I’ve learned better over time.

But now I know exactly how far to run my wife and how to better train her for the mini-marathon she wants to run.

So that’s good too…

A NEW RITUAL (FOR A VERY OLD PURPOSE)

I started a new ritual for the New Year which I have found to be most satisfying and edifying.

I built a new shrine (replacing my old) which now includes candles to Christ and the Paraclete, a basin of Holy Water, a plate for the Communion Bread (a paten), a goblet for the Communion Wine, a glass container for salt,  an incense container, and it sits near my stereo so that as I use it I can listen to sacred music by Bach, Mozart, and others.

Then, after my personal prayers and meditations, but before my work prayers I take communion for myself. I bless all of the elements, ignite the incense and candles, put on the music, and then take communion before saying my work prayers and beginning my day. Afterwards I sprinkle myself with the salt and the Holy Water and then sit for a space listening to the sacred music, thinking about what I should be doing for the day, and contemplating the condition of my own soul.

This is extremely invigorating to me, while simultaneously being relaxing and edifying, and I suspect it will be extremely good practice for when I eventually become a priest.

Anyway, this has been going so well for me that I have decided that once a week I shall conduct the same ritual for and with my entire family.

Eventually I intend to add more elements to my shrine like some Holy Icons I have designed and devised (and if I become good enough at it, will paint myself) and some other relics I think will be helpful and useful. I am thoroughly enjoying this.

Have a good day folks. And a very productive one.

MAN AND WOMAN

A husband and a father should be the Christ and the priest of his own household. A wife and a mother should be the Holy Spirit and the wise woman of her own household.

  *   *   *

A Woman wants a Friend for a Mate; a Man wants a Mate who is a Friend. Figure this out and your marriage will flourish.

  *   *   *

When and where men and women willing sacrifice for the good of the other Love increases and grows great.

  *   *   *

If more people would let God impregnate their hearts then surely far fewer would abort their own offspring. Or their own souls.

from On Man and Woman

 

THE EXCELLENCE OF GOOD DAYS

Spent some of the day playing Skyrim. Just to Vad in my mind and imagination a little. Spent some of the day lifting weights and hiking. Spent some of the day working on the following non-fiction books: The Paths of the Great Man, The Roman Way, and Lifelong Endeavours.
 
Got to work on my Two Week Physical Training Program, to shift around and better organize my files, to finish a children’s story and to do a little bit of work on my new sci-fi short story, The War for Women.
 
Even started a note and sketch book on how I’m going to design The Vadder.
 
Thus it’s been an excellent day. Cold outside for my hike and working out, but otherwise superb.
 
As a matter of fact, starting on Thursday, the kids went away (or one was already at college, the other took a trip) so the wife and I got to spend an excellent couple of days in each other’s presence, relaxing, enjoying each other’s company and enjoying each other physically and sexually.
 
I wasn’t up for our anniversary earlier this month because the wife finally gave me her cold and it struck about the day of our anniversary. But it wasn’t bad and it didn’t last long or do much so this weekend we made up for it.
 
Things are going pretty well for us all and I am extremely optimistic about 2017.
 
I hope the same for you.
 
Now I think I’m gonna go relax a while, read a novel, and if I can track one down listen to a radio play.
 
If not I’ve been listening to an audio book called the Heart and the Fist which I’ve been enjoying immensely. The author and I have a lot in common in our outlook and many of our experiences. I recommend the book.
 
Evening folks.
 

THE TACTICAL ATHLETE AND THE ROMAN WAY

Although I like and regularly follow the Art of Manhood this fit in so well with the new training program I’ve developed, The Roman Way, that I decided that this should definitely be shared here as well. This is exactly how I perceive The Roman Way, as being a tactical, personal, mission-oriented, and fully-functional form of athleticism for the average man and woman (and child).

My wife, by the way, who aside from my youngest daughter and myself happen to be the guinea pig(s) for my program has lost nine pounds (so far), regularly hikes and rucks now and every day after her workout and run she chops down two ten to twenty foot tall trees with her hatchet to help clear our land.

Soon I will teach her how to build things out of the trees she cuts down. Anyway enjoy the podcast and conversation. Later on I will return to The Roman Way and discuss it in more detail as I am now writing a book and training manual on the program.

A lot of really good things are happening nowadays in the fields of personal health and athleticism.

 

Brett | January 17, 2017

Podcast, Tactical & Military

Podcast #270: Becoming a Tactical Athlete

We don’t normally think of soldiers and first responders as “professional athletes,” but that’s exactly how my guest today argues they should see themselves. His name is Rob Shaul, and he’s the founder and president of the Mountain Tactical Institute — a research organization dedicated to creating fitness programming that takes workouts outside the gym and gives them a mission-centered focus. Rob believes that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters, as well as folks who participate in strenuous mountain activities like rock climbing and backcountry skiing, should view themselves as tactical athletes and train not just to train, but for a purpose outside the gym.

Today on the show, Rob and I discuss what makes the Mountain Tactical Institute’s mission-focused approach to fitness different from other organizations, why it is that soldiers and first responders should think of themselves as professional athletes, why soldiers in Afghanistan started following his fitness programming for mountain climbers, why there are so many out-of-shape first responders on active duty, and how to train to become a “tactical athlete,” even if you’re a civilian.

Show Highlights

  • Rob’s background and how he got started in tactical training
  • Why do mountain/adventure athletes even need specific programming?
  • How MTI caught the eye and focus of active military members
  • Why different missions and events require specific fitness programming
  • The most important things listeners can know about fitness requirements for military service
  • The fitness culture (or lack thereof) of first responders
  • The safety issues that present themselves when first responders aren’t fit
  • What happens in our society when fitness standards are implemented in police and fire departments
  • How age impacts one’s role in the military, and in first responder departments
  • Why first responders and military members should see themselves as athletes
  • The philosophy behind becoming a tactical athlete
  • Specific fitness benchmarks and goals for police officers, military members, etc.
  • The importance of durability in any athlete
  • Should civilians strive to be become tactical athletes?
  • The next evolution of fitness, and how we’ll move on from gyms and obstacle races
  • What to do when your programming and workouts get stale
  • What Rob calls “the burden of constant fitness”

Resources/Studies/People Mentioned in Podcast

If you’re looking for a fitness routine that’s mission-specific and designed for a purpose, be sure to check out the programs available at MTI. I’m thinking of trying one of them out myself.

Connect With Rob Shaul and Mountain Tactical Institute

Mountain Tactical Institute website

MTI on Instagram

MTI on Facebook

MTI on Twitter

Tell Rob “Thanks” for being on the podcast via Twitter

Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)

BRACE YOURSELVES, LABOR IS COMING

BRACE YOURSELVES, LABOR IS COMING

Look, I am enjoying this day. A lot. I was well impressed by what Trump said. He earned his moment.

But don’t forget that this is ultimately your celebration. Or failure. Trump is but one man. There is no such thing as a political “Savior.” He can get government off our backs (hopefully), he can lead, and maybe he can even inspire.

But he cannot “save us.” Not from ourselves anyway.

And likely not from foreign powers or domestic saboteurs who wish us harm or to see us fail.

Much work needs to be done. Many things need to be repaired and restored. New things need to be built. Old things destroyed and replaced.

That will almost all fall to us.

We had 8 years of a supposed political savior and you see how that juvenile idea utterly failed (as it certainly had to). Obama was a failed idea because he represented someone to fix us and someone to fix the nation and the world for us. There is no such beast. That is entirely a self-invented and delusional fiction.

So brace yourselves people, your job is just beginning.

Labor is coming…

If you want Trump then Trump triumphed, he did, and good for him. But Trump is but one man, and if you want Real Triumph, then that falls to us… and to you and me.

Just remember that in all the days to come.

No one is coming to save you from yourselves.

But if you go to work and do what you are supposed to then you will never need a political savior. And eventually, if you are Truly Wise and Self-Disciplined, you’ll realize you don’t need much governing anymore either…

YEAH, AND NOT ONLY THAT…

A friend of mine brought up some interesting and bizarre points about the Fort Lauderdale airport shooter/terrorist. I won’t reproduce his post here because it was on Facebook but these were my observations, and my reply.

 

YEAH, AND NOT ONLY THAT…

I was thinking somewhat along these same lines myself.

One thing I’ll add that really, really bothered me (and I mentioned to my wife immediately as we watched it unfold) is that neither the airport itself nor the local PDs had any evacuation plan or filtering plan once the events went down. Instead passengers were not checked and then immediately separated form the field of fire or the attack zone. Rather they (including pregnant women and little children) were simply herded into open, outdoor, unshielded “containment areas” to await clearing all known and suspected attack locales.

The perp was obviously a good shot. According to reports so far he hit many of his victims in the head.

Suppose this had been a much larger operation with other guerrillas or terrorist or mass murders in sniping positions throughout the grounds?

Herding people together (including children, women, and pregnant women) in open air, undefended and uncovered containment areas would have been an absolute recipe for unmitigated disaster.

You see how this disorganized and unplanned shit went down. Now think about how it could have easily went down.

And for God’s sake fix it…

Also, as another friend pointed out none of the SWAT, FBI tactical teams or police movements should have been filmed or allowed to be broadcast until after the event and the grounds secured and the perp(s) either dead or in custody. And the whole operation, given the uncertainty and the size of the place should have had drones being operated to locate possible suspects, to gather intel, and to film and clear areas for evacuation routes.

A lot of lessons should be and should have been learned from this (and prior attacks). But, if not for Obama’s DHS and the way he down-politicized many branches of government, a lot of this should have been pre-acted and prepared for. Red Teams should have run this scenario years and years ago.

Policies and contingency plans should have long ago been established and in place.

It’s like we have to relearn this crap every single time it occurs. And still never draw a useful lesson.

This kind of pointless, effeminate, unprepared shit endangers everyone and really, really bothers me.

I hope Trump will kill this shit before a lot more Americans die.

This whole thing stank and could have been infinitely worse.

Fort Lauderdale airport shooting captured on surveillance video

Federal investigators search for shooter’s motive

By Derek Shore – Reporter

Posted: 5:16 PM, January 08, 2017Updated: 12:59 AM, January 09, 2017

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The moment that gunman Esteban Santiago opened fire on travelers at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Friday was captured by security cameras.

The video, which was shared with TMZ, shows Santiago reaching for a gun from his waistband and opening fire in the baggage claim area of Terminal 2.

Right when the shooting starts people dropped to the ground for safety.

The shooting claimed the lives of five people and injured six others.

Officials said it is still unclear why the shooter picked the Fort Lauderdale airport and what his motivation was to attack.

Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel appeared Sunday morning on the Local 10 News show “This Week In South Florida” to speak about the shooting.

He said Santiago told investigators that the a chip was placed in his head by an agency .

“The CIA or some agency had put a chip in his head and they were programming him and they forced him to watch a video on ISIS, and that changed and (he) said he was paid a certain amount of money by ISIS an hour or two later, so at this point we really don’t know,” Israel said.

Santiago is slated to remain at Broward County jail, where he is being held on federal charges that could carry a death sentence,  until Monday when he is expected to be transferred to a federal facility in Miami.

 

THE AGE OF TRUMP: THE HOPEFUL END OF AMERICAN COWARDICE

One thing that I think every American could take a lesson in from Trump is in regards to true leadership.

The Obama age of “leading from behind” whatever the hell that actually means, and it means precisely nothing, is soon to be over. To great advantage for anyone who will follow Trump’s very different example.

I don’t always agree with Trump but in these respects, as regards leadership, industry, initiative, productivity, and action (especially immediate action) the man is supremely astute.

And the man is utterly without timidity.

It has been a long, long, long time since I have felt like there has been a man in government who possesses these particular traits of leadership and industry and fearlessness. Maybe not since Reagan.

And I am no fan of government. Like, no fan at all. But I’m beginning to really like Trump. Especially in these matters.

I am also immensely gratified to see Trump manhandling the Republicans and well as the democrats and liberals.

Never be afraid to bust the balls of your friends and allies in a good cause or to get them to do the right thing. If they are smart they will come to understand and appreciate your example, if not they are not men and women you truly desire as friends. Friends don’t let friends do wrong merely because they are “friends.”

Sycophantically and effeminately acquiescing to your allies and even your leaders as the democrats did with Obama and Obama did with the liberals shows an immense and cowardly weakness of heart, mind, soul, and manhood.

So I for one am glad to see a man who seems to fear no one.

Now let’s see how he will react to (and more importantly act against) foreign tyrants, dictators, evil men, and terrorists.

Not only did Obama lower the bar of behavior for the US government I am afraid he had a general lowering of the levels of courage (in many individuals) throughout the nation as a whole. I am afraid that Obama insidiously infected the levels of courage of far too many Americans and far too many brave men.

Men who should have been against many evils in this nation and in this world suddenly found themselves in a seemingly “reasonable” and “common” and “popular” sea of cowardice and far too often manipulated by arguments of cowardice originating from the top tiers of our government and out society in general. (Not that I’m saying anyone should look to either government or their society as their examples of manhood or of right and wrong, because I am not, I am saying the exact opposite – but those were the very stream beds of this degenerate corruption.)

So I for one will be glad to see that effeminate shit buried.

And no I do not expect Trump to be perfect, and I do not anticipate I will always agree with him. But from his personality and what I know of him I do expect that, at the very least, he will be a man without fear, timidity, or self-absorption.

And after eight years of Obama that is a welcome enough start to me…

YOUR WOUNDS AND WEAKNESSES

Do not let your wounds and weaknesses long colour your capabilities and capacities.

from Human Effort

 

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

ON MIND, MAGIC, MIRACLES, AND CHRIST AND CHRISTMAS

 

A friend of mine asked my opinion on psychic phenomenon and magic and miracles. Well, not just my opinion, but the opinion of all of her friends on such matters. I made my reply to her post which I copied and pasted to this post as it is my true opinion on such matters. Given the time of year, and the celebration of the Birth of Christ (though I have no doubt Christ was likely born closer to Easter than to Christmas, and crucified and resurrected much closer to Passover and Christmas than to Easter, this is nevertheless our cultural celebration of Christmas) I think this the perfect time to address such things. For one of the often overlooked things Christ came to do, other than to redeem the souls of men, is to integrate the various parts of Man, his Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit, to their Rightful Nature and to their Natural Capabilities, and to their Proper Relationship to existence, and to God. A Man (or Woman) so Redeemed, and so set to their Rightful and Proper Self and Nature is indeed Immortal and is Man and God always intended Man to be. That too is my opinion, though I think it a correct one. Christ then does not merely save us, he also corrects us and purifies us and remakes us into our True Selves.

And if you ask me that is Truly Magical and one Truly Superb Miracle.

MERRY CHRISTMAS GUYS

_______________________________________

In my opinion, and from years of experimentation conducted on my own and with others, I think that so called psychic abilities, and magical abilities (though I no doubt have a different definition of “magic,” tan most, that is I consider magic to be Divine Work or Divine Action) and miraculous abilities (Thaumaturgy, or Wonder-Working or Miracle, and all Miracles arise first from God though people may easily be conduits of miracles) are all separate things. Related perhaps, from time to time in apparent effect, and yet separate in cause and operation and methodology and origins.

That is to say that I think so called psychic abilities arise from the mind(s) of men, and possibly from the soul as part of our inborn capabilities (though they might be improved with practice), magic (Magi – or Knowing or Great Wisdom) arise from our souls and is probably the result of experience and training (intentional or unintentional) or practice combined with inborn capabilities, and that Miracles always arise first from God and then descend to man.

That is to say Psychic, despite the misnomer, arises primarily from integrated mental (mind) and possibly psychological (soul) capabilities. Theurgy or Magic arises from the Divine Image of God within us expressed outwards as Divine and Good) Action, and Thaumaturgy (or as we say Miracle) from God and is the example or model for both theurgy and psychic abilities.

Both psychic abilities and theurgy can be misused however, and for nefarious and malignant purposes, but such things I call witchcraft and sorcery, though others might use other terms. Thaumaturgy, a True Miracle, cannot be misused or corrupted because it originates in and from God. Though fake miracles or false miracles can be misused, and are.

But I would also say that in the lives of people there are time periods when certain of these things thrive in a person’s experience, or maybe several of them thrive simultaneously in a person’s life.

As for control, I think your guess is as good as mine.

I am of the opinion, based on my own experiences, that perhaps certain aspects of these various things can be controlled, or certain probabilities of success enhanced by training or by technique (such as fasting, going without sleep, prayer, mediation, etc.) but I have never found a way to reliably control such things to any real degree. But maybe that is just a weakness or incapacity on my own part. I really don’t know.

So I certainly don’t discourage the attempt to do so and I wish you well.

Just use whatever you discover as Wisely as you can and remember that indirect and uncertain information is still indirect and uncertain. That does not make it wrong, it just means that being mortal and limited in our own knowledge we may either easily or in some small or great detail misunderstand what is being communicated to us. So we must both discern and discriminate as well as human abilities allow us to do so exactly what is being implied or exposed to us.

If I am confused or uncertain about such things I always try praying to God and asking the help of others who are wise to see if there is something I am misunderstanding or overlooking.

For instance I will certainly accept and consider and take an omen, or a vision, or a dream, but I would not use an omen, or a vision, or a dream as the only basis for making an important decision. It would be just one factor I consider.

At the very least I would try my best to seek to understand, “do I really know what is occurring or being communicated to me?” And sometimes I have thought I well understood some omen or vision only later to discover I was either wrong or only partially right, and sometimes I should have trusted my initial assumptions or my gut and failed to do so and so harm ensued or I gained no benefit from what should have been an obvious advantage. That’s only human I guess, we only know what we know or will allow ourselves to know, but with time and experience you can, I suspect, get better.

So, good luck and Godspeed to you.

I think people should have such experiences. They deepen our lives, expand our understanding, and enrich our experiences of both the world and of God.

Use them well and they should serve you well. Just always try to use them wisely and well, and for your own best benefit and for the most possible benefit of others.

That’s all you can really do that is worthwhile with anything in life.

Know your limits, but try to constantly exercise and exceed them, listen to God and to what others are trying to tell you and then use those things as well as you can.

Merry Christmas then my friends.

May it be Soulful, Magical, and Miraculous to you and yours.

REMEMBER

Remember, this Christmas, while you are eating your dinners, and enjoying time with friends and family, that in another house there is an empty chair where a hero should be sitting. They gave their life so that you can enjoy yours. So light a candle and say a prayer this Christmas for our fallen heroes, for our law enforcement officers, first responders, and soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who died for us and for those still serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere.

They may be absent from this world but should not be forgotten by us.

There is but one way to advise – by example.

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